Ashwagandha is one of the most popular herbal supplements that is known for its myriad of health and beauty benefits. It’s not only a superfood but it’s known for being a “miraculous herb” due to its variety of nutrients that are superbly beneficial for your health.
In this article, we will discuss some of the basic but important facts about this magical herb. We will be covering the following questions:
- What is ashwagandha?
- What are the benefits of using ashwagandha?
- How to take or use ashwagandha supplements?
- Does ashwagandha really work, or is it just a fad?
- Are ashwagandha supplements right for you?
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a medicinal, evergreen herb that commonly grows in India, the Middle East, and some parts of Africa. Beginning hundreds of years ago, ashwagandha’s roots and orange-red fruit were used for medicinal purposes. Sometimes, ashwagandha is also referred to as the “Indian Ginseng,” a similar adaptogen.
Ashwagandha is well-known for its medicinal powers, and actually means “smell of horse” in Sanskrit. It is not because of its smell (though, it has a unique smell to it), but because it is believed that anyone who consumes ashwagandha will gain horse-like vitality and strength.
In modern times, ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen – meaning, it can deliver physical-boosting and balancing effects on our body. Adaptogens are often used by athletes because they can help improve performance and endurance, both physically and mentally. Adaptogens are also great in helping your body regulate stress better.
Ashwagandha is known for a variety of health benefits – from improving brain function, lowering blood sugar to even fighting the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Ashwagandha is, in a word, a very powerful herb!
Benefits Of Using Ashwagandha Supplements
Ashwagandha is packed with plenty of health benefits – both physically and mentally. Here are just some of the benefits you could potentially experience if you consume ashwagandha.
1) Ashwagandha Can Aid In Reducing Blood Sugar Levels
Several research studies have shown that ashwagandha can help reduce your blood sugar levels. For instance, in one study, it was found out that ashwagandha can increase insulin secretion and it can help improve your insulin sensitivity in your muscle cells.
Several human studies also showed that ashwagandha can reduce blood sugar levels in both healthy and diabetic people – making ashwagandha a good medicinal herb for anyone suffering from diabetes.
2) Ashwagandha Can Help Reduce Your Anxiety And Stress Levels
Perhaps, one of the well-known benefits of ashwagandha is its ability to help you handle your stress and anxiety much better. In fact, people hundreds of years ago saw ashwagandha as a medicinal herb that can both energize and calm a person.
According to research, ashwagandha is seen to block the stress pathway in rats’ brains by regulating certain chemicals which eventually signals their nervous system. For human studies, ashwagandha is shown to help reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders and stress.
3) Ashwagandha May Help You With Depression
Some research shows that ashwagandha can help you handle and reduce depression.
For instance, in one 60-day study of 64 stressed adults, the group that took a relatively high dosage of ashwagandha extract (600mg) on a daily basis reported that their severe depression was reduced by 79%. However, only the participants in this said study had a history of depression. So, the link of ashwagandha to depression is not necessarily conclusive yet.
There are still more tests that need to be done to further understand the relationship between ashwagandha and depression.
4) Ashwagandha Can Improve Your Physical Strength And Muscle Mass
Studies show that ashwagandha can be very helpful when you’re striving to build your body mass. Ashwagandha is shown to improve one’s strength and body composition.
In one study, a group of healthy men who daily consumed 750-1,250mg of powdered ashwagandha roots gained muscle strength over a 30-day period. In another study, those who consumed ashwagandha had greater muscle strength and size gain and also had their body fat percentage burned at twice the speed compared to the placebo group.
5) Ashwagandha Can Help In Lowering Your Cholesterol and Triglycerides Levels
Ashwagandha is shown to help people lower and regulate their cholesterol and triglycerides levels – which is very helpful in preventing heart-related diseases.
For instance, one study showed that those who took a standardized ashwagandha extract had a 17% decrease in LDL or “bad” cholesterol and 11% decrease in their triglycerides.
As mentioned above, ashwagandha contains plenty of health benefits. Aside from the ones on the list above, here are some more benefits that ashwagandha is said to have:
· Might have anticancer abilities
· Help deal with arthritis
· Can help those who have (or prone to have) bipolar disorder
· Can reduce inflammation (good anti-inflammatory herb)
· Helps in other cognitive functioning, such as memory
· Can help in boosting testosterone levels and increase fertility in men
· Good herb against type 2 diabetes
· Can help you sleep better
How To Take Ashwagandha Supplements And Forms
Ashwagandha supplements are often sold in capsule or pill form, but can also come in powder form. Like with any supplements, it’s important to take note of the dosage that works for you. Depending on your body, this might range a little bit.
Ashwagandha Supplement Tablets
Ashwagandha Supplement Powder
Ashwagandha Supplement Capsules
Do Ashwagandha Supplements Really Work?
Ashwagandha itself has been proven to work, so in itself, ashwagandha does perform health wonders for our body. But when it comes to supplements – just like almost any supplement – it is important to be sure that the ashwagandha supplement is real and not fake.
To answer this question: yes, ashwagandha supplements do work, but because of less regulation from the Food and Drug Administration on the supplements industry, fraudulent manufacturers abuse this lack of regulation, unfortunately. For instance, they’ll buy fake reviews for online shops like Amazon, deceive on their label and, of course, create a non-working product.
But, not all supplements are like that. There are real supplements out there; you just need to do some digging before you can find one that actually works.
One way to check the supplement you’re about to buy is by checking the label. But of course, as mentioned above, some manufacturers can deceive or even outright lie about their product.
Getting recommendations from trusted family, friends, and sources is another great way to sort out bad supplements from real and working supplements. We also will provide a list of our favorite ashwagandha supplements below to help eliminate any confusion.
Are Ashwagandha Supplements Right for Me?
Ashwagandha supplements, like with most supplements, are safe for most people. However, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a certain medical condition and taking certain medications, it is best you do not take such supplements or talk to your doctor about it. Otherwise, ashwagandha supplements will work fine for most people.
Best Ashwagandha Supplements
This ashwagandha supplement is easy to consume, high in quality, and low in price. This supplement is a great choice for a consumer that wants an inexpensive addition to their daily diet and a convenient way to consume it.
Stress by Alani Nu ($34)
We all experience stress, but some bodies process it differently than others. If your body reacts highly negatively to stress, this supplement from Alani Nu might be perfect for you. While a bit more expensive than the supplement by Now Foods, this ashwagandha capsule is also made with natural gamma-aminobutyric acid.
This supplement is a little different than the first two, as it is a powder. This mix promises to tone the immune system, as well as inspire vigor and strength. This is a great addition to any diet. You can add it to your morning coffee, or to a smoothie if you prefer.
This supplement is made with 100% USDA certified organic ashwagandha root powder. While many mixes are made with leaves, stems, and fillers, this is pure ashwagandha root with black pepper extract. The black pepper works for maximum absorption of the supplement.
Alternatives To Ashwagandha Supplements
Ashwagandha is typically used for stress management. Because of this, there are many stress-management alternatives to look into and try out. Rhodiola, Maca root, and holy basil are three other adaptogens that are useful in managing stress, regulating sleep, and maintaining a high level of energy throughout the day.
If you don’t like ashwagandha, or it does not work for you, check out those three supplements and see if one works for you! If you’re looking to add more supplements to your routine, you may also enjoy our guides to the best nootropic stacks or the best protein supplements.
If you are thinking about adding an ashwagandha supplement to your diet, now is a great time to try it out. Ashwagandha supplements are easy and safe supplements to test that carries a variety of benefits with it. If you start taking an ashwagandha supplement and experience any negative symptoms, contact a medical professional for help.